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 Posted:   Aug 20, 2023 - 12:48 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

DEADLY ILLUSION (1987) – 6/10

Because he has a reputation for excessive violence, private detective “Hamberger” is asked by Wall Street investment broker “Alex Burton” (John Beck) to kill his wife, Sharon, explaining that she knows too much about his illegal business dealings and could ruin him. Burton offers $25,000 upfront and another $75,000 when the job is done. Hamberger doubts he has the conscience to deliberately murder someone, but nonetheless, while Burton is out of town, Hamberger goes to his Long Island home and finds the Burtons' house virtually empty. A brunette “Sharon Burton” (Morgan Fairchild) discovers Hamberger and holds a gun on him, but he is unfazed. He tells her that he was hired to kill her, explaining that if he did not take the job, someone else would. Sharon puts her gun down, starts flirting with him and asks Hamberger to kill her husband instead, but he refuses. She kisses him and the two have sex.

Hamberger takes Mrs. Burton to the airport to leave town and returns to Manhattan to see his girlfriend, “Rina” (Vanity). Soon, police “Lieutenant Paul Lefferts” (Joe Cortese) comes to Rina’s apartment to report that Mrs. Alex Burton was found dead at her home in the Hamptons, and Hamberger’s fingerprints were all over the house, including in the bedroom. At the morgue, however, they discover that the murdered woman is not the woman that Hamberger saw on Long Island, nor is her husband the man that hired Hamberger to kill his wife. Hamberger convinces old friend Lefferts to allow him 48 hours to find out what’s going on.

This CineTel release could easily have gone directly to video, but found its way into theaters first. Nevertheless, Billy Dee Williams makes a pretty good P.I., helped by some laconic dialogue and his Philip Marlowe-like voiceover narration. The low budget precluded any car chases, but they have plenty of shootouts, foot chases, and they even managed to hire a helicopter for one sequence. Although not among the best theatrical procedurals, this would rank as a quality, fast-moving made-for-video crime drama. Patrick Gleeson composed and performed the synth-based score.

 Posted:   Aug 21, 2023 - 1:48 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

Diary if a Madman(1963)7/10
With Vincent Price

Vincent's magistrate condemns Girot to the guillotine. This is despite his protestations that he is innocent and was possessed by an evil spirit( a horla, apparently). Price doesnt believe him, well you wouldnt, would you? At the moment Girot dies the Horla takes possession of Price. It forces him to kill, though Price tries to resist. H ealso figures out how to kill the spirit- with fire- but in doing so kill himself.
Quite decent. For Price it wasn't over the top as some of his turns. Also there was less ham on display ( there must have been a pork shortage). The photography was nice. The music was typical of the period.

 Posted:   Aug 23, 2023 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE ADULTS (2023) – 6/10

“Eric” (Michael Cera) has returned to his upper Hudson River Valley hometown for the first time in three years, ostensibly to see his two sisters. It’s unclear as to whether he has a job. Although he spends a lot of time on his laptop, we only actually see him playing chess on it. And he divides his time between visits with his sisters and playing poker for money with friends and strangers.

Older sister “Rachel” (Hannah Gross) has been living in the run-down family home after the death of the siblings’ mother. Eric says that he wanted her to have and remain in the house, but Rachel seems to feel that paying for the home’s taxes and upkeep is a burden she would have preferred to avoid. Rachel works as a producer at a local radio station doing “fluff pieces” for the news broadcast.

Younger sister “Maggie” (Sophia Lillis) is in her late teens, and tells Eric that she dropped out of college after her first year. She has no clear idea of what’s next for her—she mentions taking a job as a white-water river rafting guide with a friend of a friend in Arizona, although she’s never done anything like that in her life.

There is obviously a strained relationship between Eric and Rachel, but during the course of the film, the causes are barely raised, let alone addressed or resolved. At various points, Maggie breaks the tension between the three by talking in a funny voice or taking on a character, which generally prompts the others to do the same. (Cera does reasonable imitations of “Marge Simpson” and an English fop.) At times, the three break into awkward song and dance routines that they did as children. Eric constantly announces that he has a plane to catch, but never actually leaves, until the end, when the film essentially just stops.

After 90 minutes, we end up not knowing much more about these characters than when we started—and they are equally unenlightened about themselves. The title of writer-director Dustin Guy Defa’s film is obviously meant to be ironic, since all three characters are in some stage of suspended adolescence. The acting is good; the film is well-shot on location; Alex Weston’s score is plaintive; but the script is thin and the film is otherwise hard to recommend.

 Posted:   Aug 23, 2023 - 6:38 PM   
 By:   Viscount Bark   (Member)

Spys (1974)

(usually written as S*P*Y*S, but the M*A*S*H-like asterisks do not appear in the title card. And there is nothing in the film that indicates that "SPYS" is an acronym for anything. So, Spys it is.)

I've been watching director Irvin Kershner films during the last few months and have discovered some gems (especially The Luck of Ginger Coffey and Loving) and have long wanted to hear Jerry Goldsmith's notorious score for this comedy. I was prepared to contradict the negative criticisms for both this movie and the score, but the nay-sayers are dead right. This is a crass, unfunny, appears-to-have-been-made-up-as-it-goes-along farce about CIA spies in Europe with an uninspired Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland (reunited from M*A*S*H) romping around in a script that seems aimed at undiscriminating 10-year-olds. All of the humor is unfunny/obvious/loud. (I did guffaw at a bit where Shane Rimmer's little missile gun pops out a projectile that immediately falls to the ground instead of zooming to its target. Obvious, but funny in its execution.)

I'm the world's #1 Goldsmith worshipper, but, boy, does the music stink. Whimsical in the most annoying way with fart-like synths and "Chinee" music for when anyone Asian appears, along with the "Volga Boatman" for the Soviets. How clever! Not.

As bad a misfire as Rimmer's gun, this is a project not to be remembered among the other works of the talented people involved. We will not need an Intrada Special Collections edition of this score!

 Posted:   Aug 24, 2023 - 4:33 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

THE ADULTS (2023) – 6/10

“Eric” (Michael Cera) has returned to his upper Hudson River Valley hometown for the first time in three years, ostensibly to see his two sisters. It’s unclear as to whether he has a job. Although he spends a lot of time on his laptop, we only actually see him playing chess on it. And he divides his time between visits with his sisters and playing poker for money with friends and strangers.

Sounds like a film about nothing.

 Posted:   Aug 24, 2023 - 11:17 AM   
 By:   Spinmeister   (Member)

Dirty Harry (1971)

Problematic, and not for the "old" reasons.

No, Dirty Harry is problematic for me because, for all intents and purposes, the movie ended when Harry left the District Attorney's office at the end of the second act.

I mean, what else was there left to say? Harry could have just as easily tossed his badge into a trash can on the way out of the building. Run end credits.

Instead, the next 30 min. devolves into a far less satisfying exploitation thriller which climaxes, of course, with the obligatory kill shot. All the Bubbas in the audience cheer. Eh…

That said, those first 80 min. are a superb assembly of cinematography, editing and music. Siegel was so damn economical in his choices.

And I can speak highly enough of Schifrin's score. The second act climax is scored to perfection as it transitions from violent frenzy to sober reflection to that concluding synth shimmer washing away the night in the glare of daylight. Brilliant stuff!

9/10 for the first 1st and 2nd acts.
6/10 for the 3rd act.

 Posted:   Aug 24, 2023 - 12:14 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I mean, what else was there left to say? Harry could have just as easily tossed his badge into a trash can on the way out of the building. Run end credits.

What else was there left to say? Nothing, I guess, if the film's point was that "The system is broken, the bad guys hold all the cards, and there is nothing anyone can do about it." But obviously, Harry (and by extension Siegel and the screenwriters) felt that wasn't the point, and that there was something more to say. Namely, that the system can be bucked, a measure of justice can be exacted, but only at the cost of one's career/soul and perhaps at the cost of a civilized society.

 Posted:   Aug 26, 2023 - 3:23 PM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)


 Posted:   Aug 27, 2023 - 11:09 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)


The Criterion Channel is currently running a series of films concerning artificial intelligence. I remember seeing this film shortly after its release and enjoying it; however, seeing it today reveals just how prescient it was. A supercomputer named Colossus has been given autonomous control of America's nuclear arsenal in the belief that nuclear war could be prevented. Shortly after activation, Colossus detects a similar system called Guardian in the USSR. The systems become linked and jointly begin seizing more and more aspects of human activity. The scientists who built the computers try to stop them. The acting and the production design are excellent, as well as Michel Colombier's score.

 Posted:   Aug 30, 2023 - 2:14 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

Stage to Tucson(1950) 6/10
With Rod Cameron and Wayne Morris

Someone is hijacking stage coaches and selling them for personal gain rather than the ( southern) cause, as some misty eyed believe.
Rod and Wayne join forces to find out who is behind it etc.
À quite lively effort, if unremarkable. Cameron plays it a bit heavy and Morris, a bit on the light side( not quite a double act). A sprinkling of romance slowed it down, once or twice. Point of note- during a punch up it was obvious it wasn't Cameron, for most of the fight. His stunt double was nothing like him. They might as well have used a four foot black man. It wouldn't have been any more obvious. Music by Paul Sawtell was ok. For lshadowing Jack the Giant Killer in a few places.

 Posted:   Aug 31, 2023 - 1:37 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

The Phantom Ship(1936) 2/10
With Bela Lugosi

On the Mary Celeste the crew are murdered one by one.
Poor, really poor. The cast were more wooden than the ship. Bela delivered his lines in slow motion. Some of the victims just disappeared off screen. The only good thing to say was I didn't realise Bela had one arm til towards the end.

 Posted:   Sep 1, 2023 - 2:13 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

Tecnica di Un Omicidia( aka various titles)(1966)7/10
With Robert Webber and Franco Nero

Webber is a mob hit man who, reluctantly, takes a job to avenge his brothers murder.
A fairly decent effort that is not to flash or over the top. Webber plays his part in a cool and restrained manner - the familiar ' tired and trying to retire but the mob won't let him'. Nero is the young up and coming partner he doesn't want. It's not full of action but moves along nicely. There's a few punch ups / beatings, some bullets fired , car chase ( sort of). The occasional odd camera angles liven things up a little. Music by Robby Piotevin is groovy and available from.all good stockists.

 Posted:   Sep 2, 2023 - 1:12 PM   
 By:   James MacMillan   (Member)

BIOGRAPHY OF A ROOKIE : The Willie Davis Story (1961, though some sources say 1963). 53' duration. Narrated by Mike Wallace, documentary-style David L. Wolper production about the training and development of an aspiring baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not knowing too much about the intricacies of baseball, I found it pretty hard-going. Photography is credited to James Wong Howe, but it was nothing special. The DVD presentation in b/w was kinda grainy anyway.

Elmer Bernstein's credit is for musical supervision; the music seemed to consist of xylophone, flute and double bass figures, fairly light, non-dramatic and not particularly "Bernsteiny".

 Posted:   Sep 2, 2023 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

La polizia è sconfitta (Stunt Squad)(1977)8/10

Commissary Griffi forms an elite (stunt) squad of new coppas, in order to catch villain Valli, who is the leader of the local protection racket. A number of people, who refuse to pay are killed when their premises are vlown up, by Vall's gang.
An above average effort, not reliant on action alone. Though there is enough shootouts, car chases and punch ups to keep most happy. There's an extra point for the novel ending. After much mayhem and near misses Griffi catches Valli on a public bus, having been wounded. The public recognise the crook and take of the cop and beat the shit out of him until he's dead , then run off. Leaving Griffi to scratch his head. Music by Stel was mostly fine , though his use of a certain synth sound was annoying. Thankfully it's rarely used.

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2023 - 9:26 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)


Based on the play by Reginald Denham and Edward Percy, this drama focuses on Ellen Creed (Ida Lupino), a housekeeper who looks after Leonora Fiske (Isobel Elsom), a retired actress living in the English countryside. When Ellen's eccentric sisters (Edith Barrett, Elsa Lanchester) visit their sibling at Leonora's home, tensions soon lead to murder. Though the death is carefully covered up, will the murderess get away with her crime, or will she be brought to justice? Very well acted and suspenseful throughout. Also, the film sports an Oscar winning score by Ernst Toch.

 Posted:   Sep 10, 2023 - 10:59 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

COUNTERPLOT (1959) – 6/10

This minor crime melodrama finds “Brock Miller” (Forrest Tucker) on the run from the law, who believe he killed New York importer and gambler “David Nibley” (Ulysses Brenes). (He only beat him senseless while trying to recover a $3,000 gambling debt.) We join Miller in Puerto Rico, on the way to South America. He’s followed to the island by his beautiful singer-girl friend “Connie Lane” (Allison Hayes). Miller is convinced that Nibley’s business partner, “Ben Murdock” (Richard Verney), is the person who really murdered him, for the insurance money that the partners had on each other’s lives. But to prove it, he needs the help of shady attorney “Fritz Bergmann” (Gerald Milton) and insurance man “Steve MacGregor” (Charlie Gibb).

There’s not much action in the film, just a lot of skulking around and characters spying on one another. Gerald Milton’s lawyer character is the most interesting in the picture, as he plays both sides against the middle, trying to collect money from both Miller and Murdock. But he has an assistant (Miguel Angel Álvarez) who is playing an angle of his own.

Portions of COUNTERPLOT were shot on location in and around San Juan, Puerto Rico, which provides some nice backgrounds. The film’s score, by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter, is half standard melodrama and half island rhythms. Allison Hayes sings a few songs in a nightclub in the film, but they didn’t make it onto the soundtrack CD that was released by Kronos Records earlier this year. The film's one-sheet poster touts some nonexistent "shocks" in the film.

 Posted:   Sep 11, 2023 - 5:01 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney original)- 5-5

After all the hoopla regarding Disney's recent bastardization remake of their classic film I decided to re-watch this film. First time in many years. (Ive been meaning to do the same with Pinocchio.)

It remains a timeless classic. Its mind boggling how many animated elements are on screen at the same time like Snow White's friendly forest critters. The special effects work like shadows, lighting effects, water reflections, and the sparkling diamonds in the mines remains stunning.

I find it amazing how appareling the character designs remain to this day. (with one caveat mentioned below) Of course we all know Disney went to great lengths to create distinct personalities for all the dwarfs. There's actually more character development in this film especially between Snow White and Grumpy than hardly any other Disney production nowadays.

What struck me the most was how carefully executed each sequence, action, gag materialized. The culture at the studio in the early years were for every person involved in the production to make a storyboard, drawing, gag, animation sequence better than what was handed to them to maximize its entertainment value. In other words this was a time when artists were free to do their craft.

If I was to slightly critique this film I would say the backgrounds while beautifully rendered look kinda flat and obviously look like background paintings opposed to part of the environment. They did a much better job in Pinocchio. They also hadn't perfected their drawing style. The characters are all drawn with "curves" which sort of make them look squashy, lacking a solid foundation. This was the norm for all animation studios at the time. The style was perfected in later years where a curved line was opposed by a straight line. This technique in later years grounded the characters and gave them weight.

Nitpicks aside this is the definition of entertainment and art. What movies were and should represent.

 Posted:   Sep 12, 2023 - 2:19 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Liquidator (1965) ... 6/10

Courtesy of YouTube, a decent w/s print with reasonable sound but no main title credits and abruptly ended.

I saw the film in the early 1970s and, as with many others, immediately sought the novel ... the first of many John Gardner novels which have sat on my bookshelf.

It's not a great film by any count but it is amusing, rarely boring (the middle section with Akim Tamiroff and Gabriella Licudi is the least interesting part) and with a great British cast it's fun naming each of the well-known character actors.

I like Rod Taylor in the title role - as Boysie Oakes - and he has great support from Trevor Howard (superb in a role which calls for more screen time than many of his later films), Eric Sykes and the wonderful Jill St. John.

The back projection scenes reveal a limited budget but there are some nice scenes on the Côte d'Azur. Lalo Schifrin's score adds some ambience, especially good in the soft, romantic scenes ... less so when required to emphasise tension and action. From the OST I enjoy Shirley Bassey's slower, more romantic, play-out song; the M/T song has the awful ending.

I'd like to watch the film again provided it's a better print, etc. and wish I kept the novel for another read.

 Posted:   Sep 12, 2023 - 7:38 PM   
 By:   agentMaestraX   (Member)

BAMBI (1942) 10/10

It's spring, and all the animals of the forest are excited by the forest's latest birth, a buck fawn his mother has named Bambi. The animals are more excited than usual as Bambi's lineage means he will inherit the title of prince of the forest. Along with his mother, Bambi navigates through life with the help of his similarly aged friends, Thumper, a rabbit kit who needs to be continually reminded by his mother of all the lessons his father has taught him about how to live as a rabbit properly, and Flower, a skunk kit who likes his name. As different animals, they have their own issues and challenges which may not translate to the others. Being similarly aged, Bambi, Thumper and Flower may have to experience the uncharted phases of their lives without the knowledge or wisdom unless gleaned from those who have gone through them before.
Bambi has to learn early that the lives of deer and of many of the other forest animals are not without their inherent dangers, for deer especially in the beautiful albeit exposed meadow. Bambi will also find that his ascension to prince of the forest is not a guarantee as other buck deer and situations may threaten that ascension. Caught this at a DISNEY 100TH anniversary showing and what an experience! Wowed and amazed at the beautiful attention to detail including - movements of animals, leaves blowing, changing of the seasons, rain drops that song 'April Showers' and score. Awed in the spectacle of the dangers lurking within the forest and the fire not to mention the haunting voice 'Mother?' cry out that's pure gut-wrenching! Perfection animation like a live oil painting documenting wild life - A Walt Disney Masterpiece.

 Posted:   Sep 13, 2023 - 5:45 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

BAMBI (1942) 10/10
Perfection animation like a live oil painting documenting wild life - A Walt Disney Masterpiece.

Indeed a masterpiece in art, animation and sound. Another artistic triumph! Amazing score as well.

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